Stark County Commissioners Approve Bond to Help Shearer's Build Massillon Plant – Shearer’s Foods will use $8 million in Economic Recovery Zone Facility Bonds to help build the $66.5 million plant in Massillon. Stark County Commissioners approved the bond on August 5, 2009. It represents nearly half of the allocation awarded to Stark County by the State of Ohio through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The County has $8,575,000 remaining to award to private businesses. Shearer’s broke ground on a 204,000 sq.ft. facility last month at the NEOCOM Park. The first phase, a $20 million investment, will create about 70 jobs. Commissioner Tom Harmon said, “We allocated money to Shearer’s Foods to further enhance their expansion with the understanding that the additional vehicle saves them money beyond their original financing plans and makes it more plausible and feasible to do phase two.” Click here for the Massillon Independent article.
Rolls-Royce Role Grows in Northeast Ohio Fuel Cell Sector – Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems (US), a subsidiary of the English jet engine maker, has leased the Fuel Cell Prototyping Center on the campus of Stark State College of Technology since the Spring of 2007. They will be leasing more space for fuel cell development once the college finishes an expansion financed in part by a $3 million grant from the State of Ohio’s Third Frontier Program, the State’s $1.6 billion, technology-focused economic development initiative. “Rolls-Royce is also in talks with state officials about expanding its local presence further,” said Mark Fleiner, president of the US Fuel Cell subsidiary. Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems is already one of Ohio’s biggest fuel cell companies with 45 employees, 35 of whom are full-time. A few other small fuel cell operations are also located on Stark State’s campus, which makes Stark county a focal point within Ohio’s emerging fuel cell industry. Rolls-Royce’s fuel cell development operation will expand from roughly 25,000 sq.ft. to about 37,000 sq.ft. once the construction is completed. The additions will include a high-bay testing room, an outdoor testing area that will expose Rolls-Royce’s fuel cell to the elements, and a classroom where Stark State instructors will teach students interested in working with fuel cells. The college is also adding a fuel cell laboratory that will be used by Lockheed Martin and Contained Energy who are already using campus facilities for fuel cell projects. Mr. Fleiner also related that Ohio’s Third Frontier Program was one of the deciding factors in Rolls-Royce choosing Ohio over other states. To read more about Rolls-Royce and the State of Ohio’s involvement in fuel cell development, click on this Crain’s Cleveland Business article.
Cleveland Plus Region Hosts National Site Selectors – As part of the Northeast Ohio region’s business attraction strategy, Team NEO and its regional partners hosted four national site selection consultants to a familiarity tour. This “FAM” tour was built around the Pro Football HOF Enshrinees’ Dinner and the World Golf Championship at Firestone. The Stark Development Board in Canton, Ohio, was one of the Cleveland Plus partners who participated. The tour “kicked off” on Thursday, August 6, 2009, with a dinner on the field of Cleveland Brown’s stadium hosted by Brown’s President Michael Keenan. On Friday morning the consultants were taken to Goodyear headquarters where COO Rich Kramer talked about Goodyear’s decision to build a new corporate headquarters in Akron. Part of Kramer’s talk centered on Goodyear’s ability to attract talent to our region and the quality of life they experience in our area. The consultants then asked questions of a panel of Human Resource professionals from local companies. In the afternoon the consultants interacted with a technology panel made up of representatives from Bio Enterprise, NorTech, The Cleveland Foundation, and Jumpstart. Friday evening, Jim Griffith, president and CEO of The Timken Company, greeted the consultants at the Timken cocktail reception prior to the Enshrinees’ Dinner. On Saturday morning, Provost Dorey Diab welcomed the consultants to the W.R. Timken Center for Information Technology at Stark State College of Technology in North Canton. After the tour at Stark State, Mark Fleiner, president of Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems, greeted the consultants at the Fuel Cell Prototyping Center, which is located on Stark State’s campus. Fleiner shared with the consultants the methodology Rolls-Royce used in choosing Ohio over four other states as well as their decision to locate in Stark County. Before leaving to go the Firestone, the consultants heard from Stuart Lichter, president of IRG, who shared with them his real estate investments in Northeast Ohio and also related the local and state cooperation he has received in the process. The Cleveland Plain Dealer and Akron Beacon Journal both recognized the “FAM” Tour with articles.
Walsh University Marks Its 50th Anniversary – 50 years ago the McDowel family agreed to give their farm to a group of Catholic brothers who wanted to open a college. On September 19, 2009, Walsh University will celebrate 50 years with the Walsh 50th Anniversary Festival and Fireworks Display. “During the formative years in the early 1960s, Stark County businesses, foundations and citizens rallied around the school’s founders,” said Richard Jusseaume, the university’s president. “They supported efforts to build the school and remain supportive today,” he said. Today the school has 3,000 students, with 1,850 undergraduates and about 1,150 graduate students. Graduate students are pursuing both master's and doctoral degrees. To read more about Walsh’s history and anniversary, click on this Canton Repository article.